Are All Cars Equipped with a Catalytic Converter

The catalytic converter is an essential part of the emission system on today’s vehicles. It’s also a very valuable component that tends to be the target of theft. What is the purpose of a catalytic convert in all vehicles?

We take a close look at this important component in this guide. We also discuss what cars don’t have a catalytic converter and show you what makes the part so valuable. 

Índice de Contenido
  1. Can All Cars Use Catalytic Converters
  2. The Catalytic Converter is necessary.
  3. What is the point of having more than one catalytic converter on a car?
  4. A Catalytic Converter is required to make a vehicle run.
  5. What makes Catalytic Converters so valuable?
  6. How to Protect your Catalytic Converter

Can All Cars Use Catalytic Converters

Every road-legal car after 1975 must include a catalytic conversion to comply with Clean Air Act requirements. These regulations were established by the Environmental Protection Agency. Every combustion engine vehicle must be equipped with a catalytic conversion to lower emissions.

Motors that are fuel-injected emit harmful gases such as carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons. The environment would be more damaged if these pollutants were allowed to escape unaffected through its exhaust system. This is thanks to catalytic convertors. These harmful gases are transformed into water vapor, nitrogen and carbon dioxide.

Every modern car with either a diesel or gas engine must have at minimum one catalytic convertor. Because it can work with an older engine, a hybrid car also needs a catalytic convertor. On the other hand, the electric car isn’t going to use a catalytic converter because there are no emissions. Additionally, vehicles manufactured before the 1975 regulation probably won’t have a catalytic converter either. 

RELATED: Do Diesel Engines Have Catalytic Converters?

The Catalytic Converter is necessary.

The catalytic converter’s main goal is to convert the dangerous emissions coming from the exhaust into gases that aren’t going to harm the environment. Catalytic converters are used by both diesel and gas engines, though the process is somewhat different. 

Federal regulations mandate the use of a catalytic convertor. It’s against the law to drive a modern vehicle with the catalytic converter taken off. The catalytic converter can last the life of your vehicle if it is well maintained. Skipping maintenance on your engine could lead to premature failure. 

What is the point of having more than one catalytic converter on a car?

Most cars have one catalytic convertor. However, there are times when you’ll see two catalytic converters on a car. Due to how the cat interacts with the exhaust pipes, dual-exhaust vehicles typically have two converters.

Still, this isn’t always the case. There are times when exhaust pipes aren’t functional but are in place to look good. There might be different numbers of catalytic converters and exhaust pipes. 

The car could also have several cats to meet emission regulations. Some cases require that the exhaust be changed twice to maintain clean emissions. 

RELATED: What Does it Cost to Replace a Catalytic Convertor?

A Catalytic Converter is required to make a vehicle run.

The car can still run mechanically without the catalytic convert installed. You are making the environment more hazardous by leaving the catalytic converter off.

Modern cars have safety features that prevent the vehicle from being run without a catalytic convert. Driving can cause performance issues and an error message. 

Legally speaking, you shouldn't drive a car without one. You are breaking the law by driving a car without it and your vehicle doesn’t meet emission standards. You could be pulled over by the authorities and given a ticket. 

This rule is not applied to the classic vehicle. Manufacturers weren’t required to use catalytic converters before 1975. You can drive your car legally with no cat. You won’t need to worry about pricey fines simply for hitting the road. 


What makes Catalytic Converters so valuable?

The theft of catalytic converters continues to increase. With modern security systems, it can be more difficult for thieves to take the cat, but that hasn’t stopped them from trying. Why do thieves care so much about catalytic converters? And why would they bother to take the trouble to get rid of them? 

For starters, it doesn’t take a long time to remove the cat if you are trying to do it the right way. The underpinnings holding the catalytic convert in place must be removed to properly remove it. However, it’s much faster to saw it off with a pipe saw, which is what most thieves choose to do.

Trucks, SUVs, vans and minivans with extra ground clearance are the most popular targets. Also, vehicles with costly cats may be targeted. 

A catalytic convertor is constructed with precious metals in it. The majority of catalytic convertors include platinum, palladium, rhodium, and other precious metals that are valuable enough to be turned in at the yard. You can increase the cat's value by including more of these metals. These values can fluctuate, but they remain on the high side. 

Although some converters only generate $50 per year at the recycle yard, others can bring in $1,200 to their owners. For a short time, educated thieves will know where to find them and make quick cash. 

RELATED : Which Cars are the Most and Less Likely To Have Their Catalytic Conversions Stolen?

How to Protect your Catalytic Converter

It’s very expensive to replace the catalytic converter and necessary if you want to keep driving your vehicle. Instead of worrying about getting a new one, it’s smarter to protect the cat that’s currently on your vehicle. 

These are some tips that will help you to protect your cat.

  • Parking Smart: Park your car in an area that is well-lit and has lots of traffic. The exhaust can be parked close to the wall to make it more difficult for others to reach underneath. If that fails, you can park your cat over a muddy spot.
  • You can use deterrents to protect your cat. These cages and bars don’t cost much to install but can save you a lot of money because you won’t have to replace the cat. A security alarm might be used to alert you if your vehicle is being touched. 

It doesn't matter how old the vehicle, theft of the catalytic convertor could cause more damage than it is worth. For this reason, it’s imperative that you protect it at all costs. 

READ MORE: Protecting Your Car from Catalytic Converter Theft

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